There is always a silver lining to every cloud, even Tottenham qualifying for the Europa League. The competition, as Harry Redknapp rightfully pointed out, is a ‘killer’ and it is no surprise the Spurs boss has been predominantly picking fringe players and youth as the games have dragged on, with, of course, the odd first-teamer there or thereabouts.
And while the likes of Roman Pavlyuchenko, Giovani Dos Santos and Sebastien Bassong have flattered to deceive even the most die-hard of fans, it is the academy products that have really stuck out like a saw thumb. Those too old for the NextGen competition, which Spurs are currently excelling in, while in turn aren’t ready for the rigours of the Premier League have been performing admirably in the competition when they have been given a chance.
Andros Townsend, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, of which he made he first start of the season last night, and Jake Livermore have all out in superb displays when called up but one has made an ever lasting impression on Spurs fans, and one that has left them crying out for more. Young Tom Carroll, who looks like he should be readying to study his GCSE’s, has been controlling the tempo and dictating the play in the middle whenever he has started in the Europa League this season.
Some have been quick to point out his lightweight physique in the aftermath of results but then again, Luka Modric isn’t exactly ripped like an old pair of jeans now is he? He hasn’t looked at all fazed in a number of white hot atmospheres this season when, even for a hardened pro, the same grounds would prove daunting. I am, of course, referring to the PAOK game and despite the ground similar to that of a boiling hot cauldron of noise, the young midfielder put in an assured performance that would put players ten-years his senior to shame.
Some are already tipping the 19-year-old for big things in the game and while it may be easy to get carried away by the hype, you can see why fans are already jumping on the ‘Tom Carroll Bandwagon’. Appearing much more mature for his ages than his peers have helped his growing reputation, with many believing he can be the natural heir to Luka Modric, should he leave. With that in mind though, he still has a long way to go before he reaches the pinnacle of his career but if he continues at the level of development he is continuing now, it may not be long before Carroll find himself a regular in the Spurs starting XI.